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Judge to Nassar: I signed your death warrant
02:15 - Source: CNN
CNN  — 

As she sentenced Larry Nassar up to 175 years in prison for sexual assault, Circuit Court Judge Rosemarie Aquilina ripped into the former USA Gymnastics doctor.

“I just signed your death warrant,” Aquilina said Wednesday during an impassioned half-hour announcement of her decision.

During her powerful statement, Aquilina stopped to directly address Nassar about his guilt after reading from a letter he had written in court defending himself.

The judge strongly disagreed, saying: “It was not treatment. It was not treatment what you did. It was not medical.”

Here are Judge Aquilina’s full remarks:

Sir, I hope that – sir. I hope you are shaken to your core. Your victims are clearly shaken to their core. And I know there are still some who ask are you broken because you got caught. First let me address counsel. I agree with your words in regard to no one should blame defense counsel and vigilante crimes are not tolerated. So, I hope that no one will do anything untoward against counsel, their children, their families, their firms, their cars, whatever. Crime plus crime solves absolutely nothing. Please respect their job. (unintelligible) The Sixth Amendment does guarantee each defendant the right to counsel. It doesn’t matter what the defendant has done. They have the right to counsel.

I also want to say that being said, we also have the First Amendment. So, you are all free to have your own opinion. It is always a balancing act between the First Amendment, the Sixth Amendment. All of the due process and all the other amendments to the constitution,they are all valuable in their own way. That’s why we have an organized and just society. That’s why we are here today. Because this defendant has been brought to justice. Do not make it worse, please. Before I get to sentencing, I want to talk about a couple of things and first, I have said what I need to say to the victims. I have a little more to say. You are no longer victims, you are survivors. You’re very strong and I have addressed you individually.

‘Become part of the army’

Before I say anything further, I don’t know if you all know this and I know that the world is watching, I know this because I am on the bench every day and this isn’t the only heinous crime that appears in this court. The national crime victimization survey that’s done by the (US) Justice Department annually reports that 310 out of every 1,000 assaults are reported to the police, which means that two out of three go unreported. To the voices of everyone that report, keep your voice up. Rachael’s voice hopefully will raise these numbers of reports in all your voices. But that statistic does not include children 12 and under. One in 10 children will be sexually abused by their 18th birthday. One in seven girls and one in 25 boys by their 18th birthday. That means that in the United States, I am not talking about any other country, but in the United States, 400,000 babies born in the US will become victims of child sexual abuse. It stops now. Speak out like these survivors, become part of the army.

I do one case at a time. And I really so very much appreciate all of your thank yous. I read some of the Twitters and Facebooks and all that’s going on the media. I am not special, I am doing my job. If you come into my courtroom, any Wednesday and watch sentencing, I give everybody a voice. I give defendants a voice, their families when they’re here. I give the victims a voice. I try to treat everybody like family because that’s the justice system that I was raised to believe in.

Judge gets personal

I came to this country stateless, unnaturalized. My father’s Maltese, my mother’s German. And I was raised on old country values. And my grandmother always told me and my parents always told me, my grandfather too, that America is the greatest country. I believe that. That’s why I served in the military. That’s why I have always done community service. I am not really well-liked because I speak out. I don’t have many friends because I speak out. If you ask me a question, you better be ready for the answer. I speak out because I want change. Because I don’t believe in hiding the truth. I am not saying I am always right. But I try.

Sentence fits all crimes, judge says

I also don’t believe that one size fits all when it comes to sentencing, another reason I was (unintelligible). I know that there are some judges for every crime they give the same punishment. I don’t think that’s justice. I believe in individualized sentencing. I follow the Constitution and I believe our system works.

I also believe these survivors. Now there is case law about how I can consider what I can consider. And first and foremost, my sentence reflects the seven (victims) in regards to who the defendant pled to. What the remainder of you, the 161 others add to the credibility of those seven. So technically, I am considering everything. Everyone. Because your crime, all of your crimes, the depth of them have cut into the core of this community and many communities and all of the families and of all of the people that we don’t even know.

Nassar’s letter

And sir, the media has asked me to release your letter, I am not going to do that. Counsel may object, the media may object, but there is some information in here that troubles me in regards to the victims. I don’t want them to be revictimized by the words that you have in here. But I do want to read some more of your letter. And the reason I want to do that is because I considered it as an extension of your apology and whether I believe it or not. So I want you to hear your words.

I have already read some and I am not reading every line. Let me begin. “The federal judge went ballistic at sentencing since I pled guilty to the state case and spent 10% on the federal case and 90% on the state cases and civil suits. She gave me 60 years instead of five to 20 years, in parentheses, three consecutive 20 years sentencing. I have pleaded guilty to possession of porn from 9/2004 to 12/2004. Four months. The prosecutor even admitted that I never belonged to any porn site or chat room, was not on the dark web. And also, they could not prove that I viewed it. It was all deleted, of course. I shared my electronics and I could not prove that. So for four months of porn possession from 2004, I was sentenced to 60 years, not proper, appropriate there. Going down a few lines, what I did in the state cases was medical, not sexual. But, because of a porn, I lost all support and thus another reason for this state’s guilty plea.”

Let me move down further. “So I tried to avoid a trial to save the stress to this community and my family and victims, yet, look what is happening. It is wrong.”

Let me move down further. “I was a good doctor because my treatments worked and those patients that are now speaking out were the same ones that praised and came back over and over and referred family and friends to see me. The media convinced them that everything I did was wrong and bad. They feel I broke their trust. Hell hath not fury like a woman scorned. It is just a complete nightmare. The stories that are being fabricated to sensationalize this than the AG would only accept my ple